Where there is a Will, is there a Way? Effects of Lay Theories of Self-Control on Setting and Keeping Resolutions

8 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2012

See all articles by Anirban Mukhopadhyay

Anirban Mukhopadhyay

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST)

Gita Johar

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Date Written: March 1, 2005

Abstract

We demonstrate the effect of consumers’ lay theories of self-control on goal-directed behavior as evidenced by New Year’s and other resolutions. Across three studies, we find that individuals who believe that self-control is a malleable but inherently limited (vs. unlimited) resource tend to set fewer resolutions. Using respondents’ own idiographic resolutions, this result is shown to hold in general as well as in consumption - specific domains regardless of whether lay theories are measured or manipulated. The effect is reversed if respondents contrast beliefs regarding their own levels of self-control with their lay theories. The final field experiment shows that 'limited self-control theorists' are less likely to succeed at their resolutions if they have low (vs. high) self-efficacy.

Keywords: lay theories, implicit theories, goals, resolutions, goal-setting

Suggested Citation

Mukhopadhyay, Anirban and Johar, Gita, Where there is a Will, is there a Way? Effects of Lay Theories of Self-Control on Setting and Keeping Resolutions (March 1, 2005). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 31, March 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2168046

Anirban Mukhopadhyay (Contact Author)

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) ( email )

999999

Gita Johar

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

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